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Flamenco Capo

Flamenco Capo

by D. Alfieri

Originally published in Guild of American Luthiers Data Sheet #46, 1977 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie, Volume Two, 2001



Start with a block of ebony 2 1/2"×1/2"×1/2". With a jigsaw, rasp, and sandpaper, cut out and shape (see drawing). Drill a hole through the center of the block and taper with an appropriate-sized reamer to match a violin peg. The size of the peg should relate aesthetically to the guitar.

Drill a 1/16" hole at a 115° angle on one arm. Notch the arms as shown with a fine file.

Inlay is optional. A bit of holly veneer dyed red with a red nylon string is a simple, but nice touch.

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Decades of Banjo

Decades of Banjo

from his 1984 GAL Convention lecture

by Tom Morgan

Originally published in Guild of American Luthiers Quarterly, Volume 12 ,#4, 1984



I would be a lot more comfortable today if I could have a gutiar and a five piece band, but I quickly discarded the idea of trying to set an hour’s lecture to music.

I learned to love the sound of a good banjo not too long after the vintage years, and have had the privilege of examining a lot of good instruments. RB was the designation the Gibson company used for their five string or regular banjo, and TB means tenor banjo. Small numbers such as 2,3,4, and 5 were used, and just before the war early numbers like 7, 12, 18 and 75 came into use. The new models after World War II started with 100, 150 and 250, which was also their list price, and an 800 was added later.

The Air Force sent me to Washington D.C. in 1955, where I met Callie Veach. Callie was originally from Arthur, West Virginia, and had several mountain traditions in his past such as hunting, making whiskey, riding horses, and making music. By the time we knew him, he worked at free lance carpentry, but kept a large number of musical instruments, which he modified, inlaid with Mother-of-Pearl and used to horse-trade with the local musicians.

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Building the Prima Gusli

Building the Prima Gusli

by James H. Flynn

Originally published in American Lutherie #27, 1991 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Three, 2004



The Gusli is a very old Russian folk musical instrument. Most probably, it dates back to the 11th century. The gusli is a Russian version of the ancient dulcimer or psaltry. Also in the same family, although different, are the Finnish kantele and the Hungarian cymbalom. Over time, the gusli has changed to accommodate a wide range of musical situations. Today, with especial thanks to the great V.V. Andreev (American Lutherie #17, see Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Two, p. 180), one must be specific in describing the gusli because of the many styles.

The largest of the guslis, both in physical size and musical range is the piano gusli which is shown in Fig. 1. This instrument stands on four legs (which are detachable to facilitate moving) and has a musical range of five octaves. The keyboard, which is one octave wide, is manipulated with the fingers of the left hand while the right hand works over the exposed strings with a plectrum. Activating the keyboard lifts the dampers on certain strings in all octaves.

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This article is part of our premium web content offered to Guild members. To view this and other web articles, join the Guild of American Luthiers. Members also receive 4 annual issues of American Lutherie and get discounts on products. For details, visit the membership page.

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